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  • Writer's pictureTom Foxley

The Confident Athlete Blueprint

Today, I’m going to show you the anatomy of a confident athlete.

After reading this, you’ll know how to build your confidence and start performing like you believe in yourself.

Because right now, I’m guessing there’s a little too much self-doubt in your performances…

…not enough belief…

…and a whole bunch of unhelpful self-talk.

Which means that progress is slow and training has stopped being enjoyable.

Most athletes never discover their confidence for two main reasons:

  1. They see confidence as a character trait which is set in stone, and not a trainable skill

  2. They never put the reps into changing it

Today, I’ll give you the first steps in changing that.

There’s so much BS out there when it comes to training your confidence. Most often we’re just told to be more confident… yes, but how?

“Just believe in yourself” does more harm than good to the unconfident athlete

I’m going to explain to you the four things confident athletes do, that you don’t do:

  • Detaching from the problem

  • Having something worth fighting for

  • Creating the vital distance

  • Creating effortless effort

Releasing yourself from the problem

At the heart of every athlete who lacks confidence is the subconscious story “I’m not good enough and never will be.”

If an athlete believes this story, their mental-emotional landscape is a quagmire of doubt and fear.

The story doesn’t just fill the thoughts of this athlete and sway their emotions though.

The narrative runs like a river through every performance which includes their “weakness” (usually more complex movements, but can also be a movement which has history).

Which means their performances take unnecessary dips and are unpredictable.

They try to force good performances rather than allow them to happen because they trust the process.

The athlete who is stacked with confidence on the other hand has learned to drop that story.

Even if they have thoughts like “oh man, I suck at this,” they have learned not to act it out.

They have also realised that while there is truth in the first part of the story, there is a lie in the second part.

“I’m not good enough,” is probably true! There are ways that you can improve and grow and you should be pursuing those opportunities.

But, to believe “and I never will be,” is a fatal flaw. It tells you you’re stuck.

The confident athlete believes something like “I have come a long way, I’ve got a few ways to improve, and if I work, I will grow.”

It’s all about having something worth fighting for

The confident athlete can display confidence even when they don’t feel like it because they’ve identified something worth fighting for.

They know their direction and they know how to get there. And they find that direction so meaningful that they’ll do anything for it.

This isn’t the standard BS goal of “PR my front squat/2k row time in the next 60 days”.

This is the domain of the unconfident athlete.

But it isn’t the “I just want to be the best I can” attitude either.

This vague objective isn’t worth fighting for.

The confident athlete has a vision of what they want to achieve and when they want to achieve it, but also how they’re going to get there and who they need to be to act out those steps.

They have a vision, and a set of values that they’ll live by. These constitute a way of acting that is so meaningful for the athlete it would be crazy to fall short of it.

The unconfident athlete on the other hand jumps from goal to goal. They don’t settle on a vision of who they could be.

Creating the vital distance

I alluded to this earlier. A confident athlete has learned to do something the spiritual types have been yearning to do for millenia.

They’ve put distance between who they are and the thoughts and emotions they experience.

A dirty secret of mindset training is that you never really get rid of those thoughts that plague you.

Sorry, but it’s true.

What happens instead is that the voice speaking them becomes so quiet that you can barely hear it.

And there’s another voice which is way louder. It’s the voice which knows you can, not the one seeking proof that you can’t.

To allow that voice to rise up, you need to create a distance between your mental-emotional state and your self.

You need to observe, rather than be immersed in it.

You need to get out of the sea of negativity and look at it from above.

The dream outcome: effortless effort

An unconfident athlete tries to force a great performance. A confident athlete allows it to be born from the trust they place in themselves.

Forcing is a quick path to too much tension - both physical and mental.

A confident athlete can - because they’ve learned the vital distance - find effortless effort.

This is something you have to feel.

It’s a place to drop into, not a sensation to generate.

It’s a state to uncover, not a feeling to manufacture.

The way to find effortless effort is threefold:

  • Regulate your nervous system

  • Rewire the story you believe

  • Build a performance mindset toolkit


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